With 4th of July Festivities upon us, there’s a high number of boaters on local lakes. Game Wardens are reminding the public to exercise boating safety, so that the holiday weekend is fun, and not fatal. News Source 8’s Angela Christoforos reports…
4th of July holiday weekend is one of the busiest on the County’s lakes and potentially dangerous. That’s why Game Wardens plan to patrol them in full force.
One of the most important things to remember when you’re out boating this weekend is your life jacket. And even if you’re not wearing it, Maine State law requires that each person on the boat has one readily accessible.
For kids age 10 and younger wearing a life jacket is a requirement. And no matter what age, wearing a life jacket reduces your risk of drowning. According to statistics from 2013, 77 percent of all fatal boating accident victims drowned, and 84 percent were not wearing a life jacket.
District Game Warden Seth Powers said, “One thing we like to encourage is responsible operation of watercraft, it’s a violation to be within 200 feet of shore anywhere and be above headway speed, that’s one of the violations that we incur quite a bit, we see quite a bit of.”
They also see cases of drinking and driving and it’s just as illegal on the lakes as it is on the roads. Wardens advise people operating watercraft to be courteous of other boaters, and people on the shoreline.
” You need to be aware of what’s on the lake, what’s around you, where your obstacles are on the lake, and where other boats are, if there’s people water skiing things like that,” said Powers.
Watercraft are also required to have an orange boat registration sticker on either the front right or left side. And Wardens encourage boaters to plan ahead.
District Game Warden Charles Brown said, “Just make sure that you know the weather and maybe file itinerary with somebody let them know you’re float trip, maybe a relative or a friend so that if we have to go out and search for somebody we know where to look.”
According to statistics boating while intoxicated is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. Wardens advise the public to take boating safety seriously, so the weekend is fun and not fatal.
You can pick up a copy of the Safe Boaters Guide at any town office or online at www maine dot gov.